JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet

Drop 7 Hidden Sugars, Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks


By J.J. Virgin

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From New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet comes a groundbreaking program that will revolutionize the way readers think about sugar and help you drop fat fast–up to 10 pounds in just two weeks!

New York Times Bestseller
If you’re eating healthy, but just can’t seem to lose weight, you’re not alone. Sugar is the single biggest needle mover when it comes to your health and the number on the scale, but sugar hides in places you’d never expect: whole foods, diet foods, packaged foods, dressings . . . even sugar substitutes. And it’s not enough to cut out or cut back on sugar-you have to cut out the right kinds of sugar.
In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author JJ Virgin explains the powerful concept of Sugar Impact: how different sugars react differently in the body. High Sugar Impact foods cause weight gain, energy crashes, and inflammation. Low Sugar Impact foods fuel your body for prolonged energy and promote fat burning. This eye-opening book pinpoints the most damaging sugars that we eat every day-without even realizing it-in common foods like skim milk, diet soda, whole-grain bread, and “healthy” sweeteners like agave.
By swapping High Sugar Impact foods for Low Sugar Impact foods, you will shed fat fast–up to 10 pounds in 2 weeks!–and transform your body and your health for good. Best of all, you don’t need to eliminate sugar completely or count calories. Prepare to:
  • Lose the bloat
  • Target belly fat
  • Rev your metabolism
  • Cut cravings
  • Become a fat burner, not a sugar burner
  • Lose fat fast-and forever!
  • Excerpt

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    Table of Contents


    Copyright Page

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    When I wrote The Virgin Diet, I was on a mission. I had to help people with what I discovered: food intolerances were sabotaging their health and holding their weight hostage. You can be doing everything right, even eating healthy diet foods, and still not lose a pound. Eliminating seven foods unlocked the key to fast weight loss in just 3 weeks. It was so incredible to see people get their lives back—weight came off fast, and the fatigue, bloating, and aches that came with food intolerance disappeared. So people told their family and friends. I was amazed at the movement it started. By now it's helped hundreds of thousands of people finally lose the weight and feel better fast.

    And as I watched people go through the program, I realized that one food was the biggest needle mover of them all: sugar. Reducing sugar is the one thing that can jump-start your weight loss or crack the code on breaking through a plateau better than any other, especially if you're not dealing with other intolerances. But—and this is a big but—not all sugar is created equal!

    All of the sugar diets out there drive me crazy because they totally miss the point. You already know sugar is bad for you! Hardly anyone is gobbling up straight sugar anymore—consumption of table sugar is at an all-time low.

    When many of my clients come to me, they're frustrated and ready to give up because they're already depriving themselves of candy, dessert, and a spoonful of sugar in their coffee. They're sweetening their oatmeal with honey, they're eating low-fat yogurt with fruit, they're fighting their hunger with low-calorie snack bars during the day, and they're living on salads, diet drinks, and "healthy" frozen meals. When a sugar craving hits and they slip, they beat themselves up for their lack of willpower. But after all the healthy low-calorie, low-fat, sugar-free eating, they end up with the same symptoms they'd get if they were eating a ton of sugar—weight gain, cravings, mood and energy swings, health issues like inflammation and insulin resistance, and maybe even diabetes. Sound familiar? So what the heck is going on?


    These healthy diets are packed with hidden sugars, and these sugars are not harmless. I had to come up with a revolutionary new way to look at sugar to allow even more people to finally lose that extra weight and reclaim their health—and that's exactly what I've done. So let me shout this from the mountaintop—it's the impact of sugar that matters. You don't have to eliminate sugar completely, but you need to choose your sugars wisely. When you understand Sugar Impact, you'll know why I've declared sugar—especially sneaky sugars, which I'll describe in this book—public enemy No. 1. The high Sugar Impact of the seven foods I'm going to share with you is the single biggest factor when it comes to fatigue, obesity, diabetes, and a slew of other diseases, including cancer.

    Sneaky sugars hide in places you'd never suspect—whole foods, diet foods, packaged fruit, drinks, dressings… even sugar substitutes. Even the most health-conscious among us struggle to know everywhere they hide or how to avoid them. It can feel incredibly daunting. But I've found a way to make it easy. Once I give you the tools to drop these seven high Sugar Impact foods, you can cut out all of the hidden sugars that have been sneaking tons of sugar into your diet, causing you to gain weight, crave sugar, and feel terrible.

    If you had success with the Virgin Diet but you're still looking to lose those last stubborn pounds—you've found your answer. You'll have even more success on the Sugar Impact Diet. It will change your life! People who've followed this program had incredible results—most lost 10 pounds in just 2 weeks! And they reversed inflammation and bloating, eliminated symptoms we're all told to believe are the normal signs of aging, and feel better than they have in years.

    All that's waiting for you, too. You'll break free from the Sugar Impact of seven sneaky sugars that are making you weight-loss resistant—and you'll be surprised at how easy it is. I'll show you how to eliminate high and medium Sugar Impact foods—the biggest sources of hidden sugars holding your health and your waistline hostage—from seven food groups: grains; roots; packaged fruit; low and no-fat dairy and diet foods; sugary sauces, dressings, and condiments; sweet drinks; sweeteners, and added sugar. Just by dropping the high and medium Sugar Impact foods, you'll reset and retrain your taste buds—and, like my clients, you can lose up to 10 pounds in just 2 weeks.


    It will blow your mind when you see how much sugar is sneaking into your diet—mountains of it, even in things you would swear have no added sugar. The average American eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar every day. Sugar is a chameleon—it has many different forms, hides under lots of different names, and slips into foods you'd never expect. There are more than 50 names for sugar! Studies have shown that the rising rate of obesity in kids today is coming from the foods they're eating at home, not the junk and sweets they're sneaking around eating after school. So you can't just shrug it off—you have to become a sugar sleuth!

    But don't sweat it—I'm here to help. You'll find a cheat sheet in this book that lists different names for sugar and where it hides (see Sugar Hides In Plain Sight, here). I'll make sure you're armed and ready, because sugar is the number one topic of questions, concerns, and confusion I get from people, by far. What if it's natural? What about honey? What can I substitute? What if I can't live without it? Help!

    And don't think you're better off if you're eating the calorie-free stuff. Artificial sweeteners are just the wolf in sheep's clothing. They let you think you beat the system by eating something sweet without the calories, but your body isn't in on the trick. It sets its sugar metabolism machinery in motion and screams for glucose, which means you'll probably just end up eating more.

    So if you're like my clients—eating healthy but you just can't seem to lose weight (maybe you're even gaining weight), you've come to the right place. Lowering your Sugar Impact jump-starts fast fat loss, breaks through those weight-loss brick walls, reduces inflammation, balances hormones and mood, improves sleep, and reverses declining health more than any other change to diet or lifestyle.

    There's even more good news—the Sugar Impact Diet isn't about eliminating sugar altogether; it's about eating the right sugar. The program I've created and outlined in this book is unlike any other. It lays out a step-by-step process to wean you off the foods with the highest and most damaging sugars—those with the highest Sugar Impact—so that you can lose weight, drop fat, and improve your health without feeling deprived. Learning how to swap good sugars for bad sugars for just 2 weeks will heal your body and transform your life forever.

    By the end of the program, you'll not only have lost weight and reclaimed your life, you'll be armed with information and lots of great alternatives to satisfy your sweet cravings. I've built this program specifically to address the world we live in, to give you the tools and the strength to avoid the sugars that are hurting you. And if you have a sweet tooth (and yes, some people are born to crave sugar more than others), don't worry—you aren't doomed. There are ways to work with your genetics so that a lifetime in the grip of sugar isn't your fate. You'll change your taste buds and your sensitivity to sugar, so passing up cupcakes and ice cream will be a breeze, not a teeth-gnashing exercise in willpower.

    Together, we're going to change how you think about sugar, so you can be clear about how to make the best choices for your weight, energy, mood, and life.


    We're genetically hardwired to want food that's sweet; our ancestors used to gorge on ripe summer fruit and the lucky honey find to "winter up" for the cold months ahead. Of course, back then, and even until fairly recently, sugar was never available in the forms or amounts it is today.

    Living in a world that stresses us out constantly doesn't help. You're always on the run, work is crazy, you're shuttling kids everywhere, and the last person to get taken care of is you. Meals are whatever is convenient and fast.

    Even though you don't have much time to think about what you're eating, guess who does? Food companies. They're busy, too, making sure that when you reach for that low-fat cookie, you keep coming back for more. Little by little, they're slipping more sugar into packaged foods, including diet foods, to keep up with the low-fat craze, and as food gets sweeter and sweeter, you want it even more. Yes, sugar is an addiction. When you eat a lot of sugar, you train your body to need it constantly, but getting rid of it is easier than you think.


    Did you know that we can't live without protein, fat, and water, but we can live without carbs? I know! Shocking, because I bet there are a lot of days during the week when you say to yourself, I just could not live without carbs. Well, that's what I used to say. No sourdough bread? I mean, come on! But yep, we can survive just fine on protein, fat, and water, since our bodies can actually create glucose on their own. It's just who wants to? Not me.

    Besides, even though we can live without carbs, if we cut them out entirely we'll feel lousy and stress our bodies in the bargain. So let's do this right.

    With the Sugar Impact Diet, you'll identify the right types and amounts of carbohydrates so that you always feel great and the weight keeps coming off. I want your body to get the food it needs to fuel and restore you, without putting you in a metabolic spin cycle. Foods with high Sugar Impact—specifically, foods with high amounts of a specific type of sugar called fructose—encourage your body to store fat without making you feel full. Talk about a bad combination! Throughout this book, I'll explain how to spot and avoid high Sugar Impact foods, and I'll teach you delicious low Sugar Impact swaps so that you can avoid the sugar roller coaster without feeling deprived. This is not about "living without." It's about the power of being informed to make good choices, knowing where there's wiggle room and how to step away from bad choices—the harmful, high Sugar Impact ones. You'll break through the sugar confusion to find the life that's waiting for you—you'll be leaner, more energetic, and healthier than you ever thought possible!


    No other program looks at sugar as comprehensively, strategically, or innovatively as the Sugar Impact Diet does, and certainly no other comes close when it comes to ensuring your success.

    Other programs set you up to fail by either focusing on only a single aspect of sugar measurement, like the glycemic index, or by asking you to take drastic and unrealistic measures, like giving up all carbs—right now! Well, how has that worked for you so far? You're sent on a roller-coaster ride—pumped up, then hungry and crashing—and still craving the sugar that sent you on the ride in the first place. That seems a little heartless of them to do to you, and more than a little unnecessary, don't you think? You can't go from a high-sugar diet to a low-sugar diet overnight without serious consequences.

    So let me set you up for the win. I'll give you the tools to evaluate where you're getting the most sugar in your diet and guide you through the transition from high Sugar Impact foods to low Sugar Impact foods. At the same time, you'll be retraining your taste buds to key back into the subtle sweetness of nature's treats.

    I've developed the Sugar Impact Scale, which rates a food according to the amount of sugar in it and the effect it has on your body. It takes into account a food's fructose levels, nutrient density, fiber, and glycemic load. The Sugar Impact Scale, like everything else in my program, is simple and easy to understand. Sugars and carbohydrates are assessed as having a high, medium, or Low Sugar Impact. Think of them this way:

    • High Sugar Impact—stop!
    • Medium Sugar Impact—proceed with caution
    • Low Sugar Impact—go!

    The Sugar Impact Diet will help you avoid the highest Sugar Impact foods (and their negative health effects) by giving you simple swaps—nutritious, tasty trades with lower Sugar Impact. You'll probably like them even better!


    In The Virgin Diet, I asked readers to give up seven foods for 3 weeks. If the Virgin Diet proved you can do anything for 3 weeks, 2 weeks will be a cinch! So prepare to be wowed. The simple three-step Sugar Impact Diet will deliver amazing results in the blink of an eye.

    The three cycles will help you taper your Sugar Impact and transition you from high to medium to low Sugar Impact foods—slowly. You're not going cold turkey! Ever. I know that's conventional wisdom in certain diet circles, but how's that worked for you so far? Exactly. There are a few things I can guarantee going cold turkey will do for you, and losing weight isn't one of them. Instead, you'll be shaky, irritable, lethargic, starving, and craving sugar—not the outcome we're after.

    First, you'll identify what sugars are undermining your weight and health. Where are the sugar land mines in your day? How much sugar are you really eating?

    Then you'll shift from burning sugar to burning fat—which is just as good as it sounds! (More on this in Chapter 1.) I'll be with you every step of the way and I've put together a ton of support and strategies for navigating any rough spots—including Sugar-Withdrawal Strategies (see here), Sugar-Attack Survival Strategies (see here), Speed-Healing Techniques (see here). You can also see my recommended Supportive Supplements at http://sugarimpact.com/resources. You're also going to read exciting stories and see the "before" and "after" photos of people who've already felt the impact and had incredible results. You'll be as amazed as I am. Best of all, you're next!

    Low Sugar Impact to a T

    The strategic, step-by-step approach of the Sugar Impact Diet ensures your success by moving you through the program at your own speed, in tune with how your body responds to the changes in your diet. You have to know where you are when you start, gently remove high-impact sugars, shift from sugar burner to fat burner, and emerge on the other side, ready to chart your maintenance path forward.

    Simply put, the journey to low Sugar Impact freedom is guided by the 4Ts: Test, Taper, Transition, Transformed! In just 2 weeks you'll drop 10 pounds, no longer wonder what it feels like to be bursting with energy, and be feeling better than ever.


      Take the Sneaky Sugar Inventory to identify how much sugar you are actually eating

      Take the Sugar Impact Quiz to identify the impact sugar is having on you

      Trade your high Sugar Impact foods for medium Sugar Impact foods

      Take your starting weight and measurements

      Focus on following the portions of the Sugar Impact Plate and eating by the Sugar Impact Clock


      Trade your medium Sugar Impact foods for low Sugar Impact foods and avoid any low Sugar Impact foods that are asterisked (i.e., most fruit)

      Hide or toss the medium and high Sugar Impact foods

      Take the Sugar Impact Quiz weekly

      Take your weight and measurements weekly

      Check in with the Sugar Impact Quiz at the 2-week mark to determine if you should stay in Cycle 2 or shift into Cycle 3


      Swap 3–4 low Sugar Impact servings for medium Sugar Impact servings; 1–2 of these servings should be from fruit

      Have one high Sugar Impact serving at the end of the week

      Weigh, measure, and retest at the end of the week. Decide whether you can stay in Cycle 3, or you need to return to Cycle 2


    Once a year, repeat Cycles 1 and 2 to ensure you're retaining your sugar sensitivity, and to bust any plateaus. You should also do Cycles 1 and 2 again if you "fall off the wagon."

    When you complete this program once, you're good to go. Even so, I encourage you to redo Cycles 1 and 2 once a year, to take stock and take aim, especially if you have a new goal.

    I know that the true test of a diet isn't just how much you lose when you're on it, but how successfully you can stay at your goal weight for good. Most programs yank the sugar and then leave you to your own devices—but too often that means you end up right back where you started. If you don't have a maintenance plan, you're bound to fail, and then you have to start again. When you have to do a diet over and over, it's fair to say it didn't work so well, isn't it?

    Sugar is all around us. I'm going to help you make peace with it and understand it—especially the impact it's having on your weight and health. You have the power. You can do this! Plus, when you know what to eat and what swaps to make, you'll even learn to enjoy sugar again, without the guilt.

    So if you're where I was, and where the thousands of men and women I've helped were, there's no need to be overwhelmed with despair. You can break free from sugar and lose 10 pounds in just 2 weeks!

    PART I


    The Hidden Cause of Weight Gain



    Welcome to the Sugar Impact Diet! Get ready to change your life in just 2 weeks! There are so many amazing benefits to eliminating high-impact, sugary foods. Yes, you're going to lose fat fast—on average, people lose 10 pounds in just 2 weeks! You'll also break free of your cravings, regain control of your appetite, and enjoy high, steady energy and laser-sharp focus. You'll finally ditch the constant bloat that makes you feel like you could be popped with a pin. You'll look and feel younger almost overnight, and you'll get rid of the nagging symptoms that make you feel crummy every single day—once and for all. And, more important, when you go low Sugar Impact (SI), you'll even begin to reverse chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.


    One of the biggest benefits of the low SI diet is that you lose weight, fast. And I'm talking about that really stubborn, clingy weight… the weight you thought you were doomed to carry forever because you were told you'd be packing on a few as you got older. Don't believe that myth!

    If you're carrying extra pounds, it's because when you weren't looking your body trained itself to burn sugar when it needed energy instead of fat. You became a sugar burner. Now your body doesn't even go near your fat reserves to look for fuel. It's gotten used to relying on a steady supply of carbs, so you need to keep snacking to give it fuel to burn, or you'll crash.

    When you eat sugar or carbs, your pancreas releases insulin to pull the excess sugar, or glucose (blood sugar), out of your blood and restore balance. Glucose is a form of sugar in the food we eat. It's also our primary source of energy. It's packed away in your cells for quick-access fuel, and what's left over is stored as fat. If you eat lots of sugar and keep calling on insulin to lower your blood sugar all the time, you'll eventually lose your sensitivity to it, resulting in a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a known cause of weight gain and can lead to diabetes.

    One of the hallmarks of being a sugar burner is that while you're burning sugar and storing fat, you experience frequent drops in blood sugar that make your body scream for more sugar. You'll get crazy hungry if you go for a few hours without food or you skip a meal. And when this happens, watch out! You're irritable, foggy, totally preoccupied, and showing the fangs of cravings. So let's fix that! All it takes is 2 weeks to reap the benefits of being an Impact player! When you make just a few simple, tasty swaps for seven high-SI sugars, voila—with the new, low SI you will be burning fat and craving-free with sky-high energy.


    Let's start with one very important fact: all calories are not the same! The old mantra of "a calorie is a calorie" doesn't hold true. Isn't that liberating? No more counting calories! That's because food is information, and it has marching orders for your body. Different nutrients have different physiological effects and distinct roles within the body.

    This makes sense, when you consider that you'd never say the calories in your spinach salad are the same as the ones in your Bananas Foster, would you? (Would you?) Maybe it's the guilt we associate with dessert, but we know some calories just feel different. The calories in the spinach will have a different effect on your body than the calories in that Bananas Foster. Let me tell you why.

    Our bodies run on glucose. Our body can also metabolize fructose, the primary sugar in fruit and a main component of processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup. But fructose is metabolized differently than other sugars. When most types of sugar enter your bloodstream as part of the digestive process, they elevate blood sugar levels, and your body then releases insulin to help lower those levels. But fructose bypasses this trigger by heading directly to your liver, the only organ that can metabolize it. Since it doesn't raise blood sugar levels, there's no real bump in insulin. When it hits your liver, it gets converted to glucose, and some of it is stored as glycogen, which is how we pack away carbs for energy use later. But another metabolic fallout from fructose metabolism is that the liver repackages excess fructose as triglycerides, or fat.

    Of course, there are other forms sugar can take, like galactose, maltose, and lactose (milk sugar). Sugar is found in many plants, though most straight sugar as we know it comes from sugar cane and sugar beet. But no matter what source the sugar you eat comes from—whether it's high-fructose corn syrup, honey, or molasses—your body is going to break that sugar down until it has either glucose or fructose. And the end games for those two are not the same. Glucose gives you fuel; fructose gives you fat. That's what I mean by Sugar Impact.

    Fructose, as it exists in the natural whole foods we eat (like fruits and some vegetables), is all wrapped up in fiber and bundled with nutrients. When fructose is delivered to us that way, things change for the better—our digestion slows down, we burn some energy extracting the fructose, and fructose moseys to our liver in a steady stream rather than a torrent. But most of the sources of fructose in our diet are the ones that cause the Pavlovian response we know well… the cupcakes, ice cream, and crunchy candy bars. When fructose is freewheeling, or separated from its fiber source, like the high-fructose corn syrup in juice, sodas, and candy, it might as well be taking a laundry chute–like plunge to our liver… where its idea of a party is to start making fat.

    Much of the credit for sounding the fructose alarm goes to Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He ignited a very public conversation about sugar and the harmful effects of fructose metabolism with his YouTube video, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth." And I'm so glad he did. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth checking out.

    In an October 2013 article in The Telegraph, Dr. Lustig reacted to a study in the journal PLoS One


    • "JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet can help save your brain and your life. Numerous studies show that sugar can be addictive and pro-inflammatory and lead to a number of devastating illnesses. If you want a better brain, I highly recommend this book."—Daniel G. Amen, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
    • "Opens your eyes to how much sugar you're really eating, and provides an actionable plan to cut down on the sweet stuff and feel better fast."—Mark Hyman, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet
    • "In line with leading-edge science, JJ Virgin presents a radical and empowering new way to look at sugar." —David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain
    • "Breaks through the myths and provides a clear and realistic path to health. This book is life changing!"—Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, author of P.I.N.K. Method and The Hungry Hottie Cookbook, and founder of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition
    • "Follow JJ Virgin's advice if you want to live longer, feel better, and be more vibrant. You will never look at sugar the same way again."—Tara Amen, BSN, RN, New York Times bestselling author of The Omni Diet
    • "In her newest book, JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet, author JJ Virgin takes no prisoners. She delivers a hard-hitting, no-holds-barred, crystal clear message on how to identify and eliminate the astounding and myriad forms sugars have taken in our diets. Follow her advice and you will discover answers to why weight and healthy can prove so elusive despite the best intentions."
    --William Davis, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wheat Belly, Wheat Belly Cookbook, and Wheat Belly 30-Minute (or Less!) Cookbook
  • "In her groundbreaking new book, JJ Virgin definitively settles the debate on sugar and shows us how it wreaks havoc on our health and waistline. She provides simple yet novel strategies to remove the enemy and become the lean and energetic person you were meant to be. Highest recommendation."
  • --Sara Gottfried, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure

    On Sale
    Dec 27, 2016
    Page Count
    368 pages

    J.J. Virgin

    About the Author

    J.J. Virgin, CNS, CHFS is the New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet and The Virgin Diet Cookbook. An internationally recognized expert in weight loss, Virgin has appeared on The Doctors, the Rachael Ray Show and Today, among many other programs, and blogs frequently for the Huffington Post, Prevention magazine, and Livestrong.com.

    Learn more about this author